tv Martin Bashir MSNBC February 25, 2013 1:00pm-2:00pm PST
part of their path to victory lies in trying to suppress the electorate of color. so there are concerted efforts to constrain the franchise of people of color via voter i.d., via cutting early streeting, vo. it could remove the most powerful tool created to protect voters of color. i'm typically an optimistic person, but this is makes me fear for the future. of course, the very near future will be bright because it is helmed by martin bashir. >> thank you so much, toure. and good afternoon. it's monday, february 25th. so which is it, speaker boehner, political compromise, or economic catastrophe? the choice is yours. ♪ >> in just four days congress is poised to allow a series of
arbitrary automatic budget cuts to kick in. thousands of teachers and educators will be laid off. >> is the president exaggerating the impact of these cuts? >> absolutely. >> these guys are going to shed crocodile tears. >> these cuts do not have to happen. congress can turn them off anytime. >> uncertainty of sequestration is really harming our state. >> we also need republicans to adopt the same approach to tax reform that speaker boehner championed just two months ago. >> the crisis is made up. it's been created. >> compromise is essential to getting things done. >> and the oscar goes to -- >> woodward said it was president obama. >> bob woodward. >> at some point we have to do some governing. ♪ >> this is the final countdown. we are just four days from the
sequester deadline. after a week's recess, congress chose a 2:00 p.m. start this afternoon and now speaker john boehner is moments away from a capitol hill press conference. we fully expect him to plame the president for the looming cuts that will affect everything from flights to food inspection. meanwhile, the administration is applying the pressure releasing state by state figures of what the automatic budget cuts will mean in practice, including 52,000 military workers furloughed in texas. 9,600 low income students losing their financial aid in california. and ohio teachers and schools losing $25 million in funding. one might imagine that state governors are none too happy about it and addressing the national governors association today, the president called out speaker boehner saying all it takes to avoid the ax is just a little compromise. >> i stand by those commitments to make the reforms for smart
spending cuts. but we also need republicans to adopt the same approach to tax reform that speaker boehner championed just two months ago. >> so will speaker boehner agree to sensible balanced measures on the debt or will he dig in his heels. three guesses and the first two don't count. with us from washington is msnbc political analyst karen finney. and chicago tribune columnist clarence page and louis russert live from capitol hill preparing for the great john baper to speak at another of his magnificent press conferences. karen, you have agreed us to preview your column for the hills in which you blast the republicans for trying to cast blame on the white house. you write at some point the gop -- i'm afraid i won't be able to quote any longer because we have the gathering of the magnificent gop and in a moment or two speaker boehner will
speak. but, karen, on your point before i go to that, you say the blame shifting is a pointless exercise. >> it is a pointless exercise because we've had a number of reports both from the congressional research service and the congressional budget office that have pointed out that different parts of what republicans are fighting for in terms of their ideas about territorial tax policy with regard to multinational corporations or this idea that tax breaks at the top trickle down, that those just aren't true. that there's no evidence to suggest that that works. so here they are digging their heels in, going to the mattresses fighting for economic policy that we know does not help the middle class, will not help our economy. >> right. okay. well, we're watching katherine mcmorris rogers, who is the first speaker at the microphone. we promise we will bring the scintillating speaker john boehner as soon as he arrives at the microphone. clarence, republicans new favorite journalist appears to be the great bob woodward who wrote in an op-ed obama
personally approved the plan to propose the sequester. that's been cited by everyone from john mccain to bobby jindal. it all mere theatrics until we see the cuts take effect? here is the great speaker. >> -- than he is in urging his senate democrats to actually pass a plan. listen, we know there are smarter ways to cut spending and to continue to grow our economy. that's why republicans have acted twice, as kathy said, to replace the sequester with what we would argue are smarter cuts. listen, the president says we have to have another tax increation in order to avoid the sequester. well, mr. president, you got your tax increase. it's time to cut spending here in washington. instead of using our military men and women as campaign props, if the president was serious
he'd sit down with harry reid and begin to address our problems. the house has acted twice. we shouldn't have to act a third time before the senate begins to do their work. >> good afternoon. we heard the president say last week that he was going to be forced because of the sequestration to let criminals loose on the street if he didn't get another tax hike. today we're hearing discussions from the secretary of homeland security that somehow we're going to have to sacrifice homeland security efforts in keeping our country safe if we don't get another tax hike. this is a false choice. and the president has been engaging in this rhetoric of a false choice for weeks now. as the speaker just indicated, we in the house have acted. there is a smaller and better way to go about trying to achieve the reductions in spending so we can get a control over the spending. and in the house we even
included measures that the president has proposed in his own budget. but yet the president won't support even his own measures unless there's a tax increase. so the president really ought to stop campaigning and come back to the table and work with us. we care about what happens to this economy and the people who sent us here. we have proffered alternatives and solutions. we don't adhere or agree with this false choice the president is putting forward, and as kathy said, the president is off campaigning in my state in newport news, virginia. yes, we're very, very concerned about the impact on the commonwealth as we are on all states, and there's a way to affect the right changes and reforms so we can avoid that, and we must set aside this false choice the president is proffering. >> i'd like to bring in luke russert. luke, i didn't hear speaker boehner or eric cantor mention
once the fact that two months ago speaker boehner offered $800 billion in the form of revenues via tax loopholes. what happened to that? >> reporter: they would tell you that was part of a larger possible grand bargain deal on the table then. this is now. that's off the table, and really what you heard right there -- >> how is it off the table, luke? how is it off the table? >> because they concede that after the fiscal cliff deal of january 1st, the year started anew and all the negotiations begin anew and it was the new 113th congress. that's the mindset you're seeing. you're seeing a lot of same attacks against the president we have heard before. you remember during 2012 and the latter part of 2011, what did the gop say? obama is in campaign mode. he's in campaign mode. he's checked out. he's not trying to work with us. they're trying to drum this up again. and it remains to be seen how it works. it didn't work very effectively after the president got re-elected with an overwhelming
majority. but you also saw this idea that the senate has to act first. we've done our job. in theory the house gop has not passed anything in this current congress. they did in the last one. there's actually nothing for the senate to take if they wanted to move forward with the house gop plan. so this sort of blame game, who comes out on top. >> we're going to go back to listening to the great speaker who is now unbelievably taking questions. >> -- a spending problem here in washington, there will be tens of millions of jobs in the future that won't happen because of the debt load that's being laid on the backs of our kids and grand kids. listen, i came here to save the american dream for my kids and yours. this debt problem and the president's addiction to spending is threatening their future. thanks. >> that concludes a fairly swift press conference led by speaker john boehner. clarence is till with us. clarence, i want to can you this, tea party congressman tim
huelskamp says this will be the first significant tea party victory in that we got what we set out to do in changing washington. is it not the case, clarence, that what you just saw is the a speaker who is now back under the control of the tea party? because having two months ago offered $800 billion in revenues through tax loopholes, he now throws that away and is doing exactly what mr. huelskamp and tea partiers would like, which is basically a republican rampage against government? >> it is a ram page against government in the sense that we appear to be heading down toward the deadline and going over another fiscal cliff although we can't call it that now. we're sauking about sequester but it's the same manufactured crisis as president obama called it in the state of the union address. the fact is that the right wing of the republican party doesn't care if government closes down or if these discretionary funded
programs are shut down or cut back at this point because they don't think about what the spending buys. voters do think about that and that's why i think today speaker boehner and the other republicans are really talking to their base once again while the majority of voters showed in the last election that they want to see sensible cuts if they're going to have them, but they don't want to see -- every program has somebody out there who appreciates it, who depends on it, whether you're talking about ship building or talking about food inspection or talking about head start. so there are no pleasant choices. i'm not sure what eric cantor means by false choice. there are no pleasant choices. >> karen, the fact is the italian electorate has just rejected austerity. the british credit rating has just been downgraded and the country is in a triple dip
recession, and yet here we have speaker boehner happy to just cruise towards this sequester disaster on march the 1st as if there's literally no alternative. >> the republicans like to accuse the president of wanting to make us like europe. it's the republicans who want to simulate that european austerity right here in america and it's failing to the point that you've just made. here is the other problem though, what you just read is very important. the tea partiers see this as their mission, to just blow things up. they're not here -- john boehner may be here to save the american dream for his children but that's not what the tea party is here. they're here to dismantle our government and the way it works. they're doing quite well with that. what john boehner has to decide is whose side is he on? is he on the side of the country or will he be let himself be led around and dictated to by these tea partiers. at a point americans don't say
w -- care who said what to whom, who started it. that's part of the problem. i think the republicans are so busy fighting each other, they can't even see what a bigger problem they've got. >> luke, if you're still with us, i'd loov to ask you this. is speaker boehner, did he have some kind of experience, epiphany over the christmas period, where previously he was prepared to resolve this matter with the president and now the tea party has got back at him and he's back under their control and their sway. is that what happened? >> reporter: i think what karen said is really dead on in terms of the importance of these cuts for those tea party republicans. they believe this is the tangible thing they can point to that they did when they came to washington. >> right. >> so john boehner being in a very difficult position to stop them -- >> therefore he's ak wee scquie the tea party. the more moderate republicans, they have been very upset that president obama has gone around
the country and in their words campaigned on this. they feel he's not been involved enough, and that's where you're sort of seeing this divide. those folks sort of going along with the tea party right now because they don't feel the president has been engaged enough. until that group of republicans, those 55 or so decently moderate in the current gop conference, until they feel the president is making an effort to work with them, they will side with the tea parties and these things will continue moving forward but there be a deal by march 27th because there's too many things -- >> i'm glad you're so confident. final word to you, clarence. clarence, are we going to hit this on the 1st of march? do you think in your calm and considered way as you always do that we are actually going to hit this sequester and all of these devastating cuts that were laid out by the administration in all of the states are going to come to pass? >> i'm more interested in the calm way that congress and the white house have been approaching this. congress went off on vacation last week. doesn't exactly sound like
engagement and crisis mode. the way things are shaping up, we're heading toward the deadline, and the public appears to be siding once again with the incumbent president like they did back in the '90s when it was clinton versus gingrich in this sort of thing. and i think the question is just how much pressure can be brought to bear on the republicans to help move this thing forward. >> clarence page, karen finney, and the great luke russert, thank you so much all of you. next, will the supreme court roll the clock back to a time when fear and intimidation ruled the ballot box? stay with us. >> i received so much more than my fair share of good fortune in my life, and i'm so grateful to the academy for this beautiful honor. >> so you didn't have my bet. you didn't like him as lincoln? >> no, i didn't. he's not from this country. he had an accent i could detect. i don't know if other people could detect it.
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we will not turn aside until americans of every race and color and origin in this country have the same right as all others to share in the process of democracy. >> that, of course, was former president lyndon johnson addressing the nation on the very day that he signed the voting rights act of 1965. that law removed the barriers that had been designed to keep blacks out of the voting booths. it also marked the high point of the civil rights movement in the 1960s, for it was only after witnessing the violent
repression of protesters in selma, alabama, that president johnson and congress were moved to act. since then the voting rights acts has stood up as a great legislative and moral achievement in history. on wednesday that achievement faces one of the stiffest test in 50 years as the supreme court begins to hear jor oral arguments that could turn over the law. john, this supreme court case is called shelby county versus holder. it's happening because a county in alabama is challenging the legality of section five of the voting rights act which says nine states and parts of seven others are required to get permission from the justice department before they're able to change their voting laws. these areas are designated because they have a history of racial discrimination at the polls. but shelby county, alabama, among others argue that this
history is now in the past. they say section five of the voting rights act is obsolete and the federal government can simply trust them from now on. are they right? >> no, no, they're not right. >> oh, they're not? >> no. this law was reauthorized by congress overwhelmingly in 2006. you better believe if shelby county could be trusted, if all these other jurisdictions could be trusted, congress would have shelved the voting rights act and section five when they had a chance to during the reauthorization. martin, look at this, in 2006 it passed the house 390-33. it passed by 98-0 in the senate. you can't get votes like that in congress these days. that should tell the american people that this is something that congress believed needed to be maintained. >> so, john, do you think the thing that changed all of this happened in 2008 when a certain individual happened to win the
presidential election? >> well, perhaps. >> okay. maria teresa, we just went through an entire election that was haunted by efforts to suppress turnout, as you know, in the guise of protecting the vote. we had all kinds of voter i.d. laws in states like pennsylvania, the purpose of which was made very clear by one of the leaders of the pennsylvania gop. take a listen, maria teresa. >> which is going to allow governor romney to win the state of pennsylvania. done. >> maria teresa, there you have it. so-called voter i.d. laws weren't about stopping voter fraud. they were about making sure mr. mitt romney would win the election, correct? >> and it didn't turn out so well for them, did it? the reason is because there were great organizes such as the advancement project, the naacp working to ensure voters knew what their rights were. let's get back to shelby county. shelby county was one of the five fastest growing latino communities in the country since
the last census. hold onto your hat, martin, it was over 300% since the last census of latino growth just in that county alone. this is not an accident. it's because they recognize that there is a new emerging population in alabama, in georgia, in texas, and also where these 22 states are that passed voter i.d. laws they see this growing demographic and they're not sure how to capitalize on it politically. what else better way to do it than to suppress their vote. >> john, we referred earlier to the marches in selma, alabama, as the impetus for the voting rights act. congressman john lewis participated in those marches. he was badly injured, concussed. here is what he says about the need for further oversight. whale some change has occurred, the places where the legacy of long-standing entrenched and state sponsored voting discrimination still have the most persistent, flagrant, contemporary records of discrimination in this country. in fact, he says, although section five applies to just 16
jurisdictions, those 16 areas are still responsible for, get this, john, 80% of the lawsuits which prove voting discrimination. he's absolutely right. >> right. and so shelby county wonders why the justice department wouldn't exactly take their just trust us explanation for what they were trying to do. when the court hears arguments on wednesday, we'll get a clearer idea of where the court might be going. but i have to tell you, it's going to take some amazing constitutional cha-cha for them to get around the fact that in 2006 congress, the elected representatives of the people, overwhelmingly supported the reauthorization of this law. >> a study by a were fesser at mit determined blacks and hispanics waited almost twice as long on average as whites did to vote just in last year's election. that seems to me to suggest that at the very least, the historical legacy which made
section five necessary back in '65 is still with us today, isn't it? >> waiting in line for more than, you know, three or four hours is a type of poll tax because basically you're wasting wages. and the fact that african-americans and latinos and other low-income communities had to wait in line, it was purposeful. and i think that's why we need to reauthorize the voting rights act and make sure the supreme court upholds it. otherwise, we see increased changing dem grasks and you will see the republicans trying to fight for their right to be present at the table. unless they modernize, basically stealing the vote isn't the way to do it. >> hear, hear. maria teresa kumar, and jonathan capehart, thank you both. >> thanks, martin. >> do stay with us.
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from oscar buzz and the donald's twitter to a very romney return, here are today's "top lines." i stand by what i said whatever it was. >> now for the moment we have all been waiting for. >> the biggest story of 2013 has to be your hairstyle. >> the oscar goes to -- ""argo."" >> the fact it was the first lady was an enormous honor. >> you did not like him as lincoln. >> i had been committed to play margaret thatcher. >> first of all, he's not from this country. i don't think lincoln had an english accent. that's why i do so well with twitter because i say it like it is. my twitter is through the roof. >> the media calls me crazy. >> don't you be fooled. that registry will be used to confiscate your guns.
>> you're crazy. >> companies are preparing layoff notices. these cuts do not have to happen. congress can turn them offwith just a little compromise. this town has to get past its obsession with focusing on the next election instead of the next generation. >> nobody in the republican party should be thinking about running for president. we've got to win the debate before we can win elections. >> this program note, next sunday we'll have the first interview with mitt and ann romney since the election. >> they were making mrs. romney's trademark buttermilk pancakes. >> worst thing is to be in a losing locker room. >> we'll ask them about the campaign. >> what are family meals like. >> dad always goes in line first. he's usually finished by the time the rest of us sit down. >> campaigning for president is a series of kabuki plays. >> how have they dealt with their defeat? >> poor mitt, he gets advice from everybody, even me. >> i take full responsibility. >> let's get to our panel.
we're joined by ken vogel, chief investigative reporter from politico and our very own steve kornacki, co-host of "the cycle." steve, mitt romney is back. he's going to sit down for his first televised interview alongside his wife, ann. i bet in a month of sundays you couldn't get which television network has scored that interview. >> it couldn't be fox, could it? >> there is a very strong possible that you are correct. what can we expect from the great mr. romney? >> i wouldn't xm much. i would expect this is the first interview, it will be one of his last high profeel intile interv. the bigger issue there is i think the problem of the republican party is we can make all the comments we want about what a lousy candidate he was, he had difficulty connecting with people but he was tied down by republican orthodoxy that made it impossible for him from a policy standpoint to market
himself to the middle, to market himself to swing voters. he was just stuck to all these tea party positions that the base insisted he take or he couldn't have the nomination or -- >> you give him a beat of a break. >> i don't know what he's going to say next week. i doubt we'll hear from him again. the question is will the republican party stop insisting every presidential candidate be like mitt romney. so far there's no sign of that. >> ken, shortly after losing the election, mitt romney came out and said he was beaten because, as you know, the president gave free stuff to minorities, to young people. he doubled down in essence on the 47% speech. now, do you expect him to do the same thing in this interview or when he gives his great speech next month? >> i think we might see an effort to sort of rebrand himself a little bit. not only is he sort of stuck kind of representing, as steve put it, some of the sort of worst phases at least in the public's mind of the obama era
conservative movement, he really personifies them. some of the biggest problems that republicans see moving forward, the inability to appeal to hispanics, this idea that, you know, it's a party of rich people who want the rich to get richer and the poor to go fend for themselves. and so republicans really don't want him out there. the only benefit i could see for himself is possibly trying to rebrand himself and move away from some of these positions so his legacy is not sort of seen as such a black mark on the republican party. >> steve, you write today in salon.com the risk posed by senator ted cruz of texas and i'm quoting you, threatens to take the party not just back to the embarrassment of jesse helms baugh the embarrassment posed by mccarthy. >> the comparison has been drawn obviously because you have cruz at these confirmation hearings baselessly asirting we don't know if chalk hagel took money from north korea. you have that sort of
reminiscent of joe mccarthy. >> also a story about when he was at harvard alleging -- >> the professors who wanted to overthrow the government at harvard. >> you have that same streak and when i invoke jesse helms, he was an irtabt even to the republican establishment. they didn't really like having jesse helms around for all those years but the resistance from the republican establishment only made him more popular with the republican base. the particular danger of cruz though i think for the republican party is the republican party today is less ideologically and geographically diverse than it was in the days of joe mccarthy. joe mccarthy was around when dwight eisenhower, a moderate republican, was running the country. today the republican party is at a moment when it needs to sort of modernize itself ideological. if a guy like ted cruz is the definition of what conservative purity is, that's a troubling development for the party because it's going to keep them in all these critical debates, it's going to keep them from moving to where the rest of the country is.
>> ken, i struggle to understand this obsession with the soviet union and communists. we had alan west claiming that 79 members of the house of representatives were communists. we had mitt romney saying during the campaign that america's number one geo political foe was russia tp do they not realize that 1989 happened, that the berlin wall came down, that the soviet union and its satellite states actually collapsed? what's happening here? >> well, what's happening is that it is in many ways a throwback to the cold war era when republicans were really peaking at least from a foreign policy perspective and ronald reagan took a great deal of credit and is given a great deal of credit for the collapse of the soviet union. cruz and others are a rest of the new conservative politics where some of these senators when they used to come to washington even if they were fire brands who bucked the party were under a great deal of fresh to come into the tent of party
leadership and adhere to their positions and vote with them because they knew the party leaders were the ones who could steer the money and connect them with the influence industry and the folks who could give them the money to run their re-election campaigns. now you have the tea party sort of ground troops who can support a campaign and the big outside money from the club for growth, from freedomworks, freedom for prosperity that were freed by the recent supreme court decision that can support these candidates and these firebrand republicans even when the party doesn't. >> and so steve with the que ses ter coming, all the signs are things are even more gridlocked. >> look at the 2014 elections and the two problems of what he just talked about poses for the republican party. one is ted cruz-like candidates running in republican primaries might not want to nominate can get the money on their own and go around the establishment and win nominations. second aaril secondarily, republicans recognize the threat the ted
cruz types pose to them and they have to conform to the tea party line unless they want to end up the next dick lugar or mike castle. it hawing tiog-ties the whole p. >> thank you so much. next, why republicans in congress can't stomach the violence against women act. yes, it's true. >> we build a strong, growing, thriving middle class where if you work hard in this country no matter who you are, what you look like, you can make it. you can succeed. [ male announcer ] this is kevin. to prove to you that aleve is the better choice for him, he's agreed to give it up. that's today? [ male announcer ] we'll be with him all day as he goes back to taking tylenol. i was okay, but after lunch my knee started to hurt again. and now i've got to take more pills. ♪ yup. another pill stop. can i get my aleve back yet? ♪
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♪ ♪ no two people have the same financial goals. pnc works with you to understand yours and help plan for your retirement. visit a branch or call now for your personal retirement review. according to the white house, the violence against women act has improved the criminal justice response and has led to a reduction in domestic violence. so you might think that reauthorization would be fairly straightforward but some
republicans are not so keen, objecting to the expansion of coverage to include immigrants, native americans,
and those within lgbt communities. here is senator chuck grassley explaining why he voted against reauthorization. >> you have a jury. the jury is supposed to be a reflection of society. under the laws of our land, you got to have a jury that is a reflection of society as a whole and on an indian reservation it's going to be made up of indians, so the nonindian doesn't get a fair trial. >> leaders of native american tribal organizations are demanding a retraction from grassley calling his comments offensive and factually wrong. goldie taylor is an msnbc contributor and a columnist for msnbc.com. nia-malika henderson is a political reporter for "the washington post." thank you for joining us. goldie, aside from insulting native americans, grassley didn't bother to read the bill because it clearly states tribal juries provide fair and impartial hearings and that they
include a cross section of the community, including nonnative americans. would it not be helpful if he
read it before rejecting it? >> i think it would be helpful if everyone read this piece of legislation. it's common sense. since it was enacted in 1994 the violence against women act has done a lot, including having women not have to pay for their own rape kits after an incident. having women be able to access a national hotline to report domestic abuse. you know, having resources available and training for prosecutors and law enforcement officers and other personnel. this violence against women act isn't just a nice name. it has real teeth and real resources available to women. what's stopping this is that certain republicans don't want it to be available to immigrants and they don't want it to be available to women who live on native american lands. immigration status is one thing that domestic abusers hold against their victims. so that they cannot call police. they cannot call authorities. they cannot get the help that
they need. the violence against women act extended to the lgbt community, makes certain the woman next door to me gets the same protections i do even though i am straight, even though i am an american citizen. the woman next door to me deserves the exact same protection. >> absolutely. nia-malika, the house version of the bill makes it easier for nonnative americans charged which because to get their chases thrown out of tribal courts. is this really about due process or is there something more behind this? >> well, republicans will say it's really about states' rights. if you look at the broad sort of categories that this bill lays out, they want states to be able to determine what categories of women are most vulnerable and, therefore, tailor their programs according to that. what is interesting about this iteration -- >> are you telling me violence towards a woman is somehow different if it's perpetrated in georgia than if it's perpetrated in texas? i mean, that's ludicrous, isn't
it? >> i'm telling what you the republican argument is in terms -- >> i know! >> this actually is moving the ball a little bit from where the house was in last session. they are actually recognizing tribal rights in this and tribal sovereignty in a way they didn't before. i think somebody watched as tom cole, a republican out of oklahoma, he's with the chickasaw nation, he's likely to introduce an amendment that makes it easier for if nonnative americans feel like they're 23409 getting a fair trial on tribal lands, they can appeal to federal courts. the problem with that, we start where we begin with the backlog of cases in federal courts and whether or not they will be inclined to take some of these cases. but i do think that the republicans' argument is, a, they feel like this is something that states should be able to take up so that's why you see some resistance, and i think in some ways if you look over the last three or four years, i'm not even sure this is going to
pass because you have had this stonewalling and resistance on the part of republicans to get this passed. >> so, goldie, it's all about states' rights. >> when you say states' rights, i hear nullification. >> right. >> what it means is they don't want the federal government involved in this because they want the states to not do anything. and so i think that's the real issue here. what ought to happen if i live in georgia and i happen to move to massachusetts or i happen to move to california, my protections ought to go with me no matter where i am. and my legal status in this country, whether or not i am gay or lesbian, should not matter. republicans want it to matter because it is tied to those same wedge issues. voting in favor of anything that expands protections for people who may be in this country illegally or expands protection for people who happen to be gay or lesbian, our brothers and sisters, those kinds of protections, voting for those things, may cost them and the ballot box back home in their
red districts and i think that's the real issue. >> goldie taylor and nia-malika henderson, thank you so much. >> thank you. coming up, wayne lapierre and his goal of unlimited magazines for everyone. stay with us. [ coughs ] [ angry gibberish ] i took something for my sinuses, but i still have this cough. [ male announcer ] a lot of sinus products don't treat cough. they don't? [ male announcer ] nope, but alka seltzer plus severe sinus does it treats your worst sinus symptoms, plus that annoying cough. [ breathes deeply ] ♪ oh, what a relief it is! [ angry gibberish ]
this could be the week for new gun legislation in congress with a bipartisan group of senators closing in on a bill to expand background checks for about 40% of gun sales that don't currently require them. not surprisingly, that doesn't fly in wayne lapierre's world where all access high-capacity magazines are the great equalizer. as he told the western hunting and conservative expo on saturday. >> the powerful elites, they aren't talking about limiting their capacity for protection. they have all the security they want. our only means of security is
the second amendment when the glass breaks in the middle of the night and we have the right to defend ourselves. >> joining us now from washington is democratic strategist and former council for the house judiciary committee julian epstein. julian, i'm confused. wayne lapierre says the second amendment is the only protection when the glass breaks in the night, and yet he opposes efforts to prevent criminals getting guns through expanded background checks. can you explain that to me? >> which is especially strange because in 2007 they issued press releases talking about the need to improve the criminal background check system. so he's got a very confused position. the important point is this, martin. it's important to see the signal and not the noise. wayne lapierre is the noise right now people are increasingly tining out. the reality is the republican leadership is privately conceding they cannot stop background check legs lace. they don't want to publicly concede that because they wouldn't to use it as a chit to
stop assault weapons and clips from being passed. what people have to keep in mind, democratic pundits and others that are for these gun measures that come on television and say we can't get assault weapons and we can't get clips passed, they have to realize when they say that, they're unwittingly playing into the nra's strategy here because the numbers on these proposals are changing and they're changing rapidly and eventually the dam will break. the reason why the numbers are changing on this is because the president continues to focus on this in his public remarks. when the president focuses on this in his public remarks,ed media then covers it. we had shootings in allentown, pennsylvania, and louisiana, in texas, and the public is quickly changing. the public wants action not just on background checks but assault weapons and clips because we've discussed background checks wouldn't stop many of the tragedies we've covered on this show. >> senator patrick leahy wants to begin the process of writing
new gun laws this coming thursday. he wants the committee to consider an assault weapons ban, universal background checks, as well as school safety and gun trafficking legislation. now, julian, you have worked on passing these laws previously. what do you think the prospects of passing them now are? let's set aside the rhetoric. let's deal with the real politic. can these things pass? >> i think they can. i think it is -- you have to think of this in two stages. you have to think about getting what we can get in the near term right now and i think we can get -- i think there is a shot at assault weapons in the senate. the point is -- so i think you certainly get background checks on i think you get background checks plus. the point here is you keep the pressure on the republicans on this because in republican districts you have numbers that show a majority of people that want far more than background checks. so you're seeing massive change in public opinion. you're seeing change in how the media is covering this. you're seeing a clarification in the courts. a couple days ago, the tenth
circuit in colorado said that the second amendment does not protect concealed carry laws or conceal carry rights rather, and again what the court in that case, the federal circuit court said, was that the only -- the second amendment according to the supreme court is a very, very limited right that only protects in a very limited sense your -- an individual's right of self-defense with a handgun inside the home and nothing more than that, and the court pointed out to the supreme court in 2008 said many of these lock standing restrictions like concealed weapons, some of the laws that the president and lleahy are proposing are long standing traditions. most importantly within public opinion which is why we should stop saying that there's no chance of assault weapons and clips getting through. they will. maybe not immediately, but if we keep the pressure on, they will get through. >> julian epstein, as ever, thank you, julian.
>> thank you, martin. >> and it's time now to "clear the air." and two movies that focused on slavery and its abolition received major honors at the academy awards. daniel day-lewis won a record third best actor award for his performance as abraham lincoln while quentin tarantino brought home the oscar for django uncha unchained. some critics have claimed while lincoln is mostly historical, django unchained contains no history whatsoever telling the story of a one-time slave who seeks to rescue his wife from a plantation owned by a brutally violent slave owner. but no movie will ever do justice to that reality of that ignominious period of history and they don't need to because one 18th century british slave owner by the name of thomas thirstlewood left a 14,000 page diary that details the
unspeakable brutality and savagery that marked his conduct. thirstlewood left britain for jamaica in 1750 and ran a major sugar plantation described by one historian as a brutal psychopath. he kept copious notes of virtually everything he did. for example, between 1751 and 1764 he regarded black women as closer to animals than humans. he never the looks like recorded 1,774 acts of sexual intercourse with 109 different women. he was a hectic hypocrite and a violent slave owner and no movie would ever do justice to thomas thirst thirstlewood. thank you for joining us this afternoon. "hardball" and chris matthews is next. i tuned it all out. with unitedhealthcare, i get information that matters... my individual health profile. not random statistics. they even reward me for addressing my health risks. so i'm doing fine...
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